Jungle Rudy

'Jungle Rudy' is Jan Brokken’s tribute to the legendary adventurer and pioneer Rudy Truffino, who spent the greater part of his life mapping, discovering and opening up the jungle in the south-east of Venezuela, once rightly called ‘The Lost World’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The book starts off with a brief sketch of Truffino’s life in the 1960s before he ended up in Venezuela, including a succesful attempt at escaping from a fire squad in the Domenican Republic. None of the events however could prepare him for the life that lay waiting.

Jan Brokken
Original title
Jungle Rudy

The table mountains of the Auyán Tepui, enormous rock masses cut by deep crevices, and the Angel Falls, with a drop of more than 3,200 feet, almost a kilometre in length, exerted an irresistible fascination on the reckless traveller, who believed he could earn a fortune by discovering of gold and precious stones and organizing scientific expeditions in this still undiscovered part of the world. In the company of a bush pilot, Truffino flew over unknown waterfalls, lagoons, and beaches in the Venezuelan savannas south of the Orinoco.

What follows is a cross between a thriller, the story of a dangerous expedition and a biography. Poisonous snakes, spiders and scorpions, mosquito plagues, drunkenness, aeroplane crashes, a stay among Indian tribes, and dangerous boat expeditions on swirling rivers, go into a world that writer Jan Brokken excels in recapturing. He follows literally in the footsteps of Truffino, reconstructing his life which staggered from one setback to the next.

Truffino’s great plans for the paradise he had opened up, resplendent with the most glorious flora and fauna, ultimately came to nothing. The hero himself died in 1994, sick and abandoned by his three daughters, without a soul to call his friend. With his fascinating biography, Brokken provides an indirect answer to a question he raised on the first few pages of his book: how to feel at ease about being nowhere at home.

Brokken’s skill as a novelist and his experience as a travel writer make for a superb symbiosis.

de Volkskrant
Jan Brokken
Jan Brokken (b. 1949) has, in a literary career spanning thirty years, written books about a number of exotic and far-off places, including West Africa, the Dutch Caribbean, Indonesia and China, winning acclaim for his adventurous attitude and sensitive style.
Part ofNon-Fiction
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